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Are EV License Plates Dangerous to Occupants of a Tesla

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by pbleic, Mar 1, 2014.

  1. pbleic

    pbleic Member

    Feb 4, 2014
    Several states have EV license plates, which serve to inform first responders that the care is an electric car:

    EV License Plates
    Quote from the article:
    Sylvia said the National Fire Protection Association has recommended special plates for such vehicles to alert first responders, in the event of an accident, that they are dealing with an electric battery.

    “You want to make sure that it’s completely disabled,’’ Sylvia said. “It’s also an electric battery, so you want to make sure any issues relative to electric shock are addressed.’’"

    I read a comment that BEV cars had safety features that eliminated the hazard of electric shock to first responders. Further, the comment said, the EV plates could cause confusion amongst first responders, leading to delay in response and increased risk to the individuals in a car after an accident.

    So - to EV License plate or not to EV license plate. That is my question.

  2. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

    Mar 8, 2012
    The first thing that responders are taught to do is to identify the car--and they don't do it with license plates because a license plate might not be on the correct car. There is a section on identification in the video at Advanced Extrication.

    Also, the same goes for a car that only has a 12V battery.

    There is no such thing as "completely safe". Modern electric cars are safe for first responders assuming the responders have taken the correct courses and follow the procedures. This really isn't any different than ICE cars except there is no liquid gasoline to deal with. In the Tesla there is an emergency disconnect which will isolate the battery from the rest of the car, but there are still capacitors (just like in any car) that could cause electrocution. And if someone does something silly, such as drilling or sawing into the battery pack, that could also cause problems.

    However, my opinion is that electrocution is the least of your worries. Assuming the responder didn't cut the emergency disconnect, I'd be concerned about moving the occupants and possibly causing the car to lurch forward.
  3. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

    Jun 21, 2012
    I've supplied local police and fire departments with a copy of Tesla's video and first-responder's guide along with a personal tour of the car.

    First responders are taught a few things about EV standards. Like, for example, if you come across a big orange cable, don't even think of trying to cut it or work around it. Continuing training requirements at weekly meetings educate the public on the availability of specific models. Because EV's tend to have self-disabling features in a critical accident (like the Model S's "pyro fuse" that disables the HV contactor automatically if the airbags deploy), most first responders are more concerned with where the airbag canister is than anything.

    As Jerry said, license plates don't necessarily mean anything. In Illinois, if you want personalized, you put standard passenger plates on the car. If you don't mind having random-number plates, the EV plates cost you $18/year instead of the $130-160 you'll pay for personalized plates. That doesn't dictate safety, and in some cases, first responders can't even see plates to begin with.
  4. EarlyAdopter

    EarlyAdopter Active Member

    Jun 24, 2012
    Redmond, WA
    I wouldn't worry about it. From what we've seen from some pretty severe accidents involving a Model S on here, rescue crews delaying has never been an issue.

    As Flasher points out, rescue crews are primarily concerned about locating and disabling the 12V system on any type of car, gas or Tesla the same, to disable any unfired airbags, and locating the charges to avoid cutting in to them. The HV lines present considerably less risk.
  5. mitch672

    mitch672 Active Member

    Jul 1, 2012
    Stoughton, MA
    Many of us in MA have EV plates. At the East Greenwich SuperCharger meet we had in January, most of the Model S's from MA had them. I don't see any negative to them, and in fact lets the first responders know they are dealing with an electric car.

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